This summer Indiana became the most recent state to enact a state tax credit scholarship program for lower-income families to send their children to the schools of their choice. Providing a 50% tax credit for donations to student tuition scholarship organizations, the legislation promises to be a lifeline for lower-income children in the Hoosier state.
Some estimates place cost-savings to the state of Indiana at $10 million, because students who leave the higher-cost public system will enroll in private schools at significantly lower cost to the state.
Scholarship-granting organizations may not limit the schools where tax credit supported scholarships are used, creating real opportunities for lower-income families to choose where they want their children to go to school.
Indiana’s tax credit scholarships also will assist families who might be above the cut-off to qualify for financial aid but still can’t quite afford private school tuition. The program will offer educational opportunity to children whose families may be right on the edge of making it.
Indiana’s new tax credit scholarship program was supported by legislators from both political parties, who put the educational needs of children above partisan politics. If Indiana’s legislators can open the doors of educational opportunity for all children, isn’t it time that Oregon’s did so as well?
Kathryn Hickok is Publications Director, Director of the Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland, and Development Coordinator at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research center. The Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland is a partner program of the Children’s Scholarship Fund in New York.